What am I doing wrong? - Home Brew Forums
Register Now For Free!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > What am I doing wrong?

Thread Tools
Old 12-16-2006, 12:48 AM   #1
digdan's Avatar
Aug 2005
Pasadena, CA
Posts: 494
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

I'm not having much luck with all grain, I've done atleast 12 ag batches and never got good efficiency. Here is what I did on my latest one... tell me if you see anything wrong :

I'm brewing a 5 gallon ag beer with 12lb of grain. 9lbs of the malt is base, the rest if crystal, carapils, and flaked wheat.

I poured boiling hot water into my MLT, which is a converted IceCube 48qt Cooler. Its equipted with a "T" Bazooka filter and a SS spigot. I let the boiling water sit int there for 10 minutes, then dumped it and put in my 3 gallons of mash water that was 164 degrees. I then slowly added my grain and stirred well. It dropped down to 142, but my target is 150 so I poured some more boiling water in until it came up ti 150 degrees. I then stirred off and on for the next hour and 15 minutes.

I then connected a tube to my HLT and fed 170 degree water into the MLT and opened up the spigot on my MLT to match its speed. I did a good fly sparge for 30 minutes. I tested the brand new wort and found great conversion via an iodine regent test.

I was also measuring gravity with my hydrometer from time to time. it was at 1.028 before I stopped becuase I had 6 gallons of water sparged in already.

I then brang this wort to a boil and boiled for 30 minutes before I added first hops.

At this point I noticed I wasn't far from the 10 gallon mark... probably around 8.5 gallons. I lost probably 1/2 gallon during the whole boil... leaving me with 8 gallons.... herm... I think i might of answered my own question.

Anywho I added my other hops and chilled via shirron, aerated w/ pump and airstone, and pitched a yeast that was started the day prior.

Efficency was 55% for the 5 gallons that made it into carboy.

Should I sparge slower? or sparge warmer? or boil down my diluted mess?

Thanks in advance,

Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2006, 12:57 AM   #2
For the love of beer!
Orfy's Avatar
Sep 2005
Cheshire, England
Posts: 11,732
Liked 99 Times on 62 Posts

Batch sparge and boil down if you get it wrong.
Have a beer on me.

Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2006, 01:03 AM   #3
Evets's Avatar
Jan 2006
Lancaster County, Pa.
Posts: 1,955
Liked 244 Times on 109 Posts

I'm no AG pro but I think you may have run off too much wort. You probably should have only run off 6 - 6.5 g and boiled down to 5 - 5.5. Had you boiled your original 8g down to 5, you'd likely have gotten better efficiency, I think. Like I said, I'm no AG pro. I've only done 4 AG batches so far.
When I die, I want my remains to be scattered all over Disney World. Also, I don't want to be cremated!

Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2006, 01:15 AM   #4
Baron von BeeGee
Beer Bully
Baron von BeeGee's Avatar
Jul 2005
Barony of Fuquay-Varina, NC
Posts: 5,397
Liked 23 Times on 22 Posts

If you really want to know what your mash efficiency is then the best time to check is in the kettle right after you run off and before you introduce any other system losses.

Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2006, 01:49 AM   #5
boo boo
Jun 2005
Hearts's Delight, Newfoundland
Posts: 4,165
Liked 36 Times on 31 Posts

I think you had chanelling issues here. 30 minutes is fast for fly sparging, and using a Bazooka tube besides.

I'm with Orfy here, batch sparge.
How do you BBQ an elephant....first you get your elephant....

Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2006, 03:47 AM   #6
david_42's Avatar
Oct 2005
Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,599
Liked 158 Times on 148 Posts

You're probably sparging too fast and getting channeling. Batch sparge & boil until you are down to 6 gallons before starting the hops.
Remember one unassailable statistic, as explained by the late, great George Carlin: "Just think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are even stupider!"

"I would like to die on Mars, just not on impact." Elon Musk

Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2006, 02:42 PM   #7
Senior Member
ajf's Avatar
Oct 2005
Long Island
Posts: 4,646
Liked 106 Times on 100 Posts

With a square cooler and bazooka screen, I would aslo try batch sparging.
A 30 minute fly sparge is also not long enough IMHO. I usually take 90 minutes to fly sparge a 5g batch. If I cut this down to 60 minutes, efficiency drops noticeably.
I'd also increase the temperature of the sparge water. You want the sparge to be conducted at 170, and you will never get there if the sparge water is 170. This is another cause of poor efficiency.


Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2006, 05:15 PM   #8
RichBrewer's Avatar
Feb 2006
Denver, Colorado
Posts: 5,903
Liked 171 Times on 90 Posts

What was the OG of your wort? If you finished with 8 gallons a lower gravity would be expected. Your efficiency may not be as bad as you think.

Adding boiling water to your tun to heat it up is a good idea. Take it a step further and heat your mash water 5 degrees hotter than your target. Pour the water in and let the temp drop to the target temp.
Lets say you want 152 degrees. Your strike water temp should be about 166 or 167 degrees. Heat the water to 171 then pour into the tun and let it sit until it drops to 166. If you do this you will have much less temp drop when the grain is added and you will be closer to your target mash temp.

For 12 pounds of grain you should have about 15 quarts (3 3/4 gallons) water for the mash. You will loose about 1 1/4 gallons to grain absorption. The sparge should be about 6 gallons. If you loose 1/2 gallon of wort in the Mash/Lauter tun you should have about 8 gallons of wort in your brew kettle. If you boil for an hour, depending on wort left in the boil kettle, you will have about 6 gallons or a bit more in your fermenter. You could boil it longer if you want to get it down to 5 1/2.

You could try batch sparging but try the things I've listed first and see what effect they have.

Reply With Quote
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Always the wrong place wrong time OHIOSTEVE Winemaking Forum 7 10-04-2009 07:07 PM
I did it wrong didn't I? bernerbrau All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 18 07-12-2009 09:54 AM
what am I doing wrong? Oakwood Extract Brewing 21 07-07-2009 12:44 PM
Where did I go wrong? BeerRenter General Beer Discussion 3 12-11-2007 02:48 PM
What went wrong? mot Extract Brewing 12 05-09-2007 08:18 PM

Forum Jump